Gurupurab was celebrated with religious fervour across India and at Nankana Sahib in Pakistan on Tuesday as devotees thronged gurdwaras to pay obeisance to Guru Nanak Dev Ji, the founder of Sikh religion, on his 550th birth anniversary. People from different faiths offered early morning prayers at the shrines that were decked with bright lights and flowers and also took part in 'langars' and 'shabad kirtans'.
The main function is being held at Sultanpur Lodhi under the Punjab government's supervision. Various developmental works worth more than Rs. 3200 Crores have been initiated by the State Government across the state. Special Projects are being undertaken in 70 villages and towns visited by Guru Nanak Dev Ji. Sikhs also turned out in numbers in Srinagar Gurdwara to pray for peace - one of the most important teachings of Guru Nanak Dev.
A number of programmes were organised on the occasion in capital Delhi as well. Volunteers also set up a free health checkup kiosk and some stalls having spiritual books in the premises of the Gururdwara Rakab Ganj Sahib. A number of stalls serving a variety of foods, ranging from chholey bhaturas to gulab jamuns, were set up outside the gurdwara as well. Candies and chocolates were also given to devotees entering and leaving the premises of Gurudwarb Rakab Ganj Sahib and Bangla Sahib Gurudwara.
Several political leaders visited the Sikh shrines across the city. While Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia paid tributes at the Bangla Sahib Gurudwara, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Yoga guru Ramdev and Shiromani Akali Dal MLA Manjinder Singh Sirsa offered prayers at Gurdwara Rakab Ganj Sahib.
Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla and Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari also visited Gurudwara Rakab Ganj. Kejriwal said the Delhi government had decided to make free arrangements for elderly pilgrims visiting Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur. Sirsa highlighted the programmes that had been held to mark the occasion. "From six months, the Sikh community was carrying out processions to mark the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev Ji. Today at many gurudwaras of the national capital, programmes were held which were attended by lakhs of people," he said.
According to Dharminder Singh, the general manager of the Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Member Committee, the celebration of Guru Nank Dev ji's birth anniversary had started in June on the 135th birth anniversary of Master Tara Singh. "In August, a blood donation camp was organised at Gurudwarb Rakab Ganj Sahib with the help of Deen Dayal Upadhyay, Guru Teg Bahadur Hospitals and one private blood bank," Dharminder said.
A Nagar Kirtan was organised on Monday, he said, adding that the committee also planned to felicitate the witnesses of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots whose testimony got the victims justice. Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamalnath also offered prayers at a Gurdwara.
Gurpreet Singh (30), who runs a transport business here, said that he meditated on the teachings of the Sikh gurus in the morning and then went to Bangla Sahib with his family to offer prayers.
Sandeep Singh, a 30-year-old employee of Punjab and Sindh Bank, said, "Today is a holy day for Sikhs so I met my parents at Rakab Ganj Sahib and from here, we will go to Bangla Sahib." Police in the national capital managed the crowd converging at gurudwaras and also cleared the traffic for the smooth passage of the vehicles.
Guru Nanak Dev's birth celebrations were also being celebrated across the country including places like Nagpur, Amritsar and Har Mandir Saheb in Patna. RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat offered prayers at Nagpur's Mankapur Indoor Stadium where a kirtan is being held.
- Inputs from PTI-